Posted in PhotographyFebruary 9, 2010
Here are a few unedited color photos chosen out of thousands from my semester in Italy last year. My post yesterday was in part inspired by my browsing through these photos. I am not a great photographer, but I do try to dabble occasionally. Of course, the best part of photography is working to improve, and luckily for me, I have a long way to go.
Posted in PhotographyFebruary 8, 2010
Photography is a very different medium than most others. It is produced almost entirely by the efforts of technology, with the user only taking part in manipulation. It engages a much different skill set than many other traditional forms. And, perhaps because of their technological roots, photos represent the world we live in a very calculated and objective way. Because of this close relationship to physical reality, one would think that art would be cast aside. But that is far from the truth.
Art is found through photography in the way the photographer manipulates the photo. Art exists in photography through subtlety. And as often happens in art, this subtlety rests on a knife’s edge of abstraction and precision. But the irony is often that good photography is at odds with the very essence of photography itself. Good photography is not objective. Good photography is subjective, as is all art. Not necessarily a provocative kind of subjectivity, but rather a natural subjectivity. The kind that speaks. In a way, it is this juxtaposition of a very objective medium and a very subjective photographer that can produce good photography.
For me, this is the beauty of photography. It is the beauty of art itself. It is its essence. It is what I struggle with, obsess over, and dream about. But of course it is worth it because in the end you have produced something that has a part of you in it, and there is not much that I find more satisfying than that.
Posted in Projects,RumblingsJanuary 28, 2010
Like most Bostonians, I tend to ride bikes. Biking is an amazing way to get around, be outdoors, and be a part of a community. As you find yourself biking more and more, you tend to refine the relationship between yourself and your bike, which is when things start to change. You might begin to catch yourself wondering what kind of handlebars are right, drop or commuter? Or you find yourself arguing over the pros and cons of fixed gear vs. single speed. Or you somehow know the names of everyone at your local bike shop. Fortunately, you are not alone – there is an amazing community out there to help.
As you bike more, you will undoubtedly learn a little bit about your bike. If nothing else, you will at least learn to change a tire. But the more adventurous may start to learn the in’s and out’s of their bike. Bike building and repairing is both meditative and inspiring. When you work hard to gain a complete understanding of something, I always feel that you find an incredible feeling of satisfaction. This certainly holds true for bikes.
Posted in PaintingJanuary 20, 2010
Some paintings I did in Moosehead Lake, Maine over the summer.
Posted in 3BMC,Projects,RumblingsJanuary 18, 2010
Because Nirav, Chris and I are all interested in anything DIY, we wanted to try out making our own homemade still. There are countless versions and variations scattered throughout the internet, and we tried to choose some of the best ideas and modify them to our own needs. There are a number of characteristics that we wanted it to have. First, we wanted it to be a pot still because we understood the mechanics and principles behind them. The downside of a pot still is the near complete lack of reflux – meaning that you will end up with less pure alcohol, which tends to be fine for rum where you want some extra flavors, but is not so good for vodka for example, where you want it to be as pure as possible. Second, it had to be small and adaptable enough to use indoors on a standard kitchen stove instead of a clunky propane stove that you have to use outside. Third, it had to be relatively cheap. And fourth, it had to be easy to make.
Posted in Painting,RumblingsJanuary 16, 2010
For my trip to Spain and France, I made two sketchbooks from scratch. All it took was some $4 large format sheets of 140lb watercolor paper I picked up at Utrecht, a 4-ply sheet of black museum board for the front and back covers, and my old office’s binding machine with some bronze-colored coils. I cut the sheets to 24 pages at 7″x9.75″ and the museum board covers to 7″x10″ so that the pages have some extra protection on the ends. The result was a lightweight, durable, cheap, and pretty handsome sketchbook. The advantage, besides being half the price, is that I could choose the size, number of pages, and kind of paper that I made it out of. Plus you get the satisfaction of making it yourself.
Posted in PaintingJanuary 16, 2010
Here are some watercolors from a trip I took this summer to Spain and France. Most were quick 10-15 minute sketches done on site.
Posted in 3BMC,Projects,RumblingsJanuary 15, 2010
So, now that you have a wash and it has stopped bubbling, it is ready to distill. First you need to rack it, which just involves siphoning most of it out to leaving behind the yeast sediment on the bottom. Then take it and put it in your still.
A basic potstill is made up of a few parts. The pot is what sits over the heat source and where you put the wash. In the wash, ethanol (alcohol) is evaporated before water because ethanol boils at 173°F vs. 212°F for water. The now gaseous alcohol travels through the lyne arm, which is a narrow metal tube that comes out of the top of the pot and goes to the condensor coil. The condensor coil is coiled metal tubing that sits in ice or cold water, where the gas is re-condensed back into a liquid. The liquid then comes out the end as distilled alcohol.
Posted in PaintingJanuary 13, 2010
It seems that every aspiring painter has a guru. Mine is Jason Heinze, a former co-worker at Machado Silvetti and friend of mine. However, since he is already taken, I figured the least I could do is pass on his own personal guru: Handprint.com. Although it is a bit hard to navigate at times, Handprint is mindblowingly extensive.
I also wanted to mention some of the brushes and paints I find to best. In terms of paint brushes, I have tried many different types and styles, but I always end up going back to the two brushes Jason gave me for my birthday last year: a #8 Synthetic and #6 Kolinsky Sable pocket brush. They are brilliant. Their tips are flawless and the brush has amazing capacity. It feels great to paint with because of the weight distribution being towards the brush. Plus because they are reversible, they are amazing for traveling and painting on the go.
Posted in 3BMC,Projects,RumblingsJanuary 10, 2010
The actual process of distilling takes some time to master, but thankfully allows or a fair amount of room to make mistakes. Conceptually, distilling is the process of purifying or concentrating (due to different boiling points) a liquid by evaporation and condensation. Making moonshine is really not too much more than that, you just ferment alcohol and then distill it through a still. There are a million different ways to make moonshine, and the following method is just one way. Part of the enjoyment of moonshining is that you can adapt the process to reflect the way you want to do it and the kind of alcohol you end up with, so I definitely recommend experimenting.